D. Wayne Lukas will not be in his accustomed favorite's role today at Belmont Park with his top 3-year-olds Thunder Gulch and Serena's Song. Each will face a tough older runner on the track's Breeders' Cup Preview card.
In the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Thunder Gulch will go against Cigar, the Maryland-bred 5-year-old who is a heavy choice to win his 11th consecutive race.
Local trainer Bud Delp said weeks ago he feels Thunder Gulch "doesn't have a prayer" against Cigar.
Serena's Song will face Heavenly Prize in the $250,000 Beldame Stakes. Heavenly Prize has won four added-money races this year and was last year's champion 3-year-old filly. The Shug McGaughey-trained runner, who won the Beldame last year by six lengths, will race on Lasix for the first time.
In supporting events, Maryland-bred Awad will try to duplicate his Grade I Arlington Million victory in the $500,000 Turf Classic.
The horse is owned and bred by Jim Ryan of Mount Airy, and is the likely favorite.
Another Maryland-owned horse, Adelaide Riggs' Wild Zone, will be a far longer shot in the one-mile Kelso Handicap.
And Cryptic Bid, a Maryland-bred 3-year-old, will make his first 1995 start in Belmont's first race, a $34,000 allowance event.